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Mannarino Survives In Sofia

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020

Adrian Mannarino recovered from a set down to book his place in the Sofia Open second round on Monday.

The Nur-Sultan runner-up struck 10 aces and broke serve on four occasions to outlast Martin Klizan 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in two hours and nine minutes. Mannarino, who is making his fifth straight appearance in Sofia, improved to 8-3 since the start of last month’s bett1HULKS Championship in Cologne.

Mannarino will face Egor Gerasimov for a place in the quarter-finals. The Belarusian saved two of three break points to beat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 43 minutes.

In his first match on the ATP Tour, Jonas Forejtek stunned eighth seed Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second round. The #NextGenATP Czech converted four of his five break points to eliminate the former World No. 3 in 66 minutes.

Lucky loser Marc-Andrea Huesler saved two match points to overcome seventh seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(6). The Swiss landed 22 aces throughout the match to reach the second round. Huesler will face Marton Fucsovics or Jannik Sinner for a spot in the quarter-finals.


Vasek Pospisil also required a final-set tie-break to earn his first victory of the tournament. The 30-year-old, who recovered from 0/40 down at 5-5 in the final set, saved eight of 10 break points to beat Ilya Marchenko 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(5).

Pospisil will meet fourth seed Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round. The Canadian is tied at 1-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Struff.

Salvatore Caruso produced a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 comeback victory against Bulgarian wild card Dimitar Kuzmanov. The 27-year-old will meet second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in his next match.

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Shapovalov: ‘I Am Able To Compete With Anyone’

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020

Ahead of his debut appearance at the Sofia Open, Denis Shapovalov took a moment to reflect on his career progression in 2020. The 21-year-old may not have added to his trophy collection this year, but he has earned three Top 10 wins and a career-high position in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

Last year’s Stockholm champion advanced to his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the US Open and cracked the Top 10 for the first time with a semi-final run at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in September. Shapovalov’s Top 10 breakthrough has provided the Canadian with added confidence and he will be hoping to rejoin the elite group with a strong run this week in the Bulgarian capital.

“I feel like I have been playing some really good tennis [this year]. I am really happy with the way the season has went… I think I played really well throughout the season and I am really happy with where my game is.

”I feel like I have definitely improved and I feel like my level is with these [top] guys. If I am not able to reach Top 10 again this season, I will definitely try to go for it next season. The important thing is, I feel like my level is there with these guys and I am able to compete with anyone.”

Shapovalov has enjoyed success since the resumption of the ATP Tour in August, but the 6’1” left-hander will aim to end a three-match losing streak in his opening match in Sofia. The Canadian No. 1 will face Radu Albot of Moldova for the first time on Tuesday.

“I feel great. I had a good break, so I am fresh and feeling good. [I have been] practising well, so I feel good and [I am] excited for the tournament.

“[Radu] is a very tough opponent. The draw is very difficult. Every tournament this year has been pretty stacked, so it is definitely not an easy match… I am excited to get going.”

Shapovalov is not the only Canadian aiming to take the trophy in Sofia. The top seed is joined in the draw by second seed and good friend Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 20-year-old arrived late to Sofia after picking up his maiden ATP Tour doubles trophy alongside Hubert Hurkacz at the Rolex Paris Masters on Sunday.

“It is definitely great for Canada and for tennis in Canada. It is amazing to see us both [in] the top [positions] of the draw and hopefully this continues, inspires a lot of Canadian kids and keeps advancing the sport in the country.”

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Two Years To Rule Them All: Hewitt Soars In Sydney And Shanghai

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020 is this week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nitto ATP Finals. Today, we look at Lleyton Hewitt’s back-to-back titles in Sydney and Shanghai.

In a city still buzzing in the afterglow of an extraordinarily successful staging of the Olympic Games one year prior, the stars were again aligning in the Harbour City in the first year of the new millennium. It was Sydney’s turn in 2001 to host the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup and two of Australia’s favourite sporting sons, Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter, were among the best eight to qualify.

There was a heavy sense of anticipation a home champion would be crowned and World No. 2 Hewitt seemed the most likely to be that player. The 19-year-old had parted ways with the blond ponytail from a year ago, but the backwards cap and trademark grit had not budged.

In an interview with Tim Henman for to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nitto ATP Finals, Hewitt recalled the immense pressure of playing at home with so much at stake in 2001. Only months prior he had throttled the great Pete Sampras to win his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows and now the World No. 1 ranking was up for grabs on home soil.

Hewitt’s coach at the time, Darren Cahill, cut a composed figure from the player’s box through each match, amid a packed Sydney Superdrome. Little more than 12 months earlier, the 17,000-seat venue played host to the Olympic basketball and gymnastics competitions.

Pitted against Sebastien Grosjean, Andre Agassi and compatriot Rafter in his group, Hewitt’s equation was relatively straight forward – win the title and he was assured of ascending to No.1. It was the same, however, for two of his rivals.

2001 Tennis Masters Cup field

“Yeah absolutely [I felt extra pressure],” Hewitt said. “Plus going into 2001 [Tennis Masters Cup] it was a three-horse race who could finish the year No. 1. At the time I hadn’t got to No.1, I was No.2 after winning the US Open, Gustavo Kuerten was No.1 and Andre Agassi was No.3. It was basically in each of our control. If we went out and won the Masters Cup at the time we would finish No.1.”

Hewitt stood unbeaten following a three-set win over Grosjean before a convincing victory against Agassi. By virtue of this straight-sets result the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place sooner than expected as a twist in the race to No. 1 emerged.

“It all sort of changed all of a sudden,” Hewitt said. “The other two actually didn’t qualify for the semi-finals so then I had to play my last round-robin match against my good mate – he was like an older brother to me – in Pat Rafter.

“And so for me it was a weird feeling. I only had to win that last round-robin match to clinch the World No. 1 [ranking] for the final time that year and I was going out there playing my good mate and we were pairing up a week later to play the Davis Cup final. It was a surreal feeling but for me one of the most special experiences in my career, especially to do it in my home country, in Australia.”

Victory over Rafter secured top spot and a first Tennis Masters Cup semi-final berth, where his opponent, Juan Carlos Ferrero, managed to salvage just six games. In a rematch against the Frenchman Grosjean, Hewitt had well and truly hit his straps as he secured a fifth straight win and with it the trophy, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

It capped a dramatic rise for the Australian. Only 12 months earlier he had qualified for his maiden Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon and while far from overawed, he failed to make it out of the round-robin stage.

Having reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open in 2000, an 18-year-old Hewitt avenged that defeat to Sampras in Lisbon but losses to world No.1 Marat Safin and Spain’s Alex Corretja ended his campaign.

The hunter had become the hunted in 12 short months and in 2002, Hewitt added a second Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon. As top seed he was not afforded the luxury of underdog status this time round and when the Tennis Masters Cup made its Shanghai debut later in November, the Australian remained the man to beat.

Despite a loss to world No. 5 Carlos Moya, two punishing three-set victories over Albert Costa and Safin were enough to see the defending champion through the group stages, where he narrowly denied Roger Federer for a place in the final.

That for me was one of my most pleasing events because every match I played in the round-robin stage and the semi and final felt like epic matches,” Hewitt said. “I actually lost one of my first matches in the round-robin stage and knew I had to win every single match then to finish No.1 again, but also to win the title. I ended up beating Federer in the semis, 7-5 in the third, and then the next day I had to back up against Juan Carlos Ferrero.”

For the second straight year he held off the Spaniard, although this in a far closer affair this time round. His 7-5, 7-5, 2-6, 2-6, 6-4 triumph ensured back-to-back Tennis Masters Cups and back-to-back year-end No. 1 FedEx ATP Rankings.

“There was a lot of special memories of playing those matches against great players of my era,” Hewitt said. “I was really fortunate to play really well in the tour finals.”

Having failed to qualify in 2003, Hewitt contested what ended up his final Tennis Masters Cup in Houston in 2004, where he again reached the final. After victories over Moya and Gaston Gaudio in the group stage and Andy Roddick in the semi-finals, new World No. 1 Federer backed up his round-robin win with a straight-sets triumph for the title to leave Hewitt with a 13-5 record at the event.

In four appearances he had prevailed over former No. 1s and Grand Slam champions Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Safin, Roddick, Moya, Rafter and Ferrero. But it was his Shanghai triumph over Ferrero that stood out.

“It was probably beating Ferrero in the final in Shanghai because the semi-final against Roger was so physically gruelling,” Hewitt said. “We were the last match on the night before as well so I had to come back mid-afternoon the following day and back up that win.

“I had to dig deep and find something there in the fifth set. Once you are No.1 guys are hunting you, so it’s a totally different mindset to going in there and being the underdog so for me that was one of my most pleasing wins.”

Editor’s Note: The Nitto ATP Finals begins Sunday 15 November in London.

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ATP Legends & Current Stars Team Up To Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020

The ATP has brought together legends of the past and present to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nitto ATP Finals ahead of this year’s season finale, which begins Sunday at The O2 in London.

An entertaining video series hosted by former World No. 4 Tim Henman pairs participants of different eras to retell some of the tournament’s memorable stories and trace the evolution of the showpiece of the ATP Tour season.

Five-time tournament champions Novak Djokovic and Pete Sampras come together for an engaging discussion about their tournament recollections and the sacrifice and commitment needed to finish as year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, which is presented each year at the event. The Serb this year has matched Sampras’ record of six year-end No. 1 finishes, with Djokovic marvelling at how the American was able to achieve the feat over six consecutive years (1993-98).

Other champions featured in the series include Stan Smith, the first winner in 1970 in Tokyo, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer, who has won a record six titles. From today, the video series will roll out across ATP’s social media channels and websites.

Also today, will commence its Nitto ATP Finals 50th anniversary content series, which will include features on the tournament’s greatest champions and unusual moments, such as the double disqualification of Arthur Ashe and Nastase in Stockholm in 1975 and a tale of remarkable sportsmanship by Tom Gorman.

The series also takes a look at the tournament’s 13-year stay at Madison Square Garden in New York, 10-year stay in Germany and extended stay in London, where The O2 will host its 12th and final edition this year before the tournament moves to Turin in 2021.

Nitto ATP Finals Gold Partner Infosys will also unveil a special data visualisation feature to compare how the tournament’s greatest champions stack up against each other.

2020 DRAW:
The draw for the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals will take place on Thursday, 12 November. Further details will be published in due course.

This year’s Nitto ATP Finals round-robin groups will be named as follows:

In Singles:
– Group Tokyo 1970, the inaugural year of the Nitto ATP Finals, will feature the No. 1 seed
– Group London 2020, the 12th and final year at The O2 in London, will feature the No. 2 seed

In Doubles:
– Group Bob Bryan, the 2003-04, ‘09 and ‘14 winner, will feature the No. 1 seed
– Group Mike Bryan, the 2003-04, ’09, ’14 and ‘18 winner, will feature the No. 2 seed

To celebrate the anniversary, ‘50 Years’ and ‘1970-2020’ will be painted onto the Centre Court at The O2.

To mark the event’s final year in London, the ATP is running the Ultimate Prize Draw in aid of Cancer Research UK, an initiative giving tennis fans the chance to win exclusive signed memorabilia, a once-in-a-lifetime Nitto ATP Finals experience in 2021, and more. For your chance to win, enter here.

In line with UK Government guidance, the 2020 season finale will be contested behind closed doors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nitto ATP Finals, featuring the best eight singles players and doubles teams, has been held in London since 2009 and has successfully established itself as one of the major annual sporting events worldwide. The tournament is broadcast in more than 180 territories with global viewership reaching an average of 95 million each year. The event will be held in Turin, Italy, from 2021-2025.

Nitto ATP Finals 50th Anniversary Content

  • At Madison Square Garden, ‘Ivan Was The Truth’
  • Two Years To Rule Them All: Hewitt Soars In Sydney And Shanghai

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At Madison Square Garden, 'Ivan Was The Truth'

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020

Ivan Lendl was a creature of habit. Harken back to the 1980s, when the shorts were impossibly short and tight and the racquet technology was flat earth, and conjure an image of Lendl in his argyle-patterned shirts plucking his eyelashes and sprinkling sawdust on his racquet grip before tossing the ball three miles high in the air for a first serve. The Lendl habit you may not recall was him making it to the final of the Masters a record nine times in a row, which is one of his most impressive feats in a storied career.

Back in the glorious ‘80s, big hair, Walkmans and Rubik’s Cubes were in and
Lendl owned the Masters in New York City. He won five of those nine consecutive finals and each year he faced one of the sport’s best in the final: Borg. Gerulaitis. McEnroe (three times). Becker (three times.) Wilander. He played in the event 12 times, compiling a remarkable 39-10 record against the game’s best players.

Lendl was dynamite under the lights—during one stretch in the early ‘80s he won 66 consecutive indoor matches, suffocating opponents with a power baseline game that was ahead of its time. In 1986, when the tournament was held twice, in January and again in December, he won the title both times without losing a set, beating Becker on both occasions. Lendl’s worst Masters results were reaching the semi-finals in 1989, 1990, and 1991, losing to all-time greats Stefan Edberg (twice) and Pete Sampras.

Lendl was particularly fierce at New York’s historic Madison Square Garden, going 33-7 there from 1981-1989. In a recent interview with British tennis great Tim Henman for, Lendl said that his home base in nearby Greenwich, Connecticut gave him an edge. “I liked my own bed,” he explained. “I liked my own cooking. I just didn’t like staying in New York City; it’s just too noisy for me.”

Ivan Lendl

Lendl may have enjoyed the familiar surroundings but, ever a man of routine, he told Henman that he wasn’t happy when the tournament switched from a round-robin format to single elimination from 1983 until (January) 1986, while enlarging the player field from eight players, alternating from 12 to 16 men, before going back to the traditional eight-man, round-robin format in December 1986.

“I didn’t like this (change of format) at all,” said Lendl, still seemingly a little miffed by it. “I felt it was more special with only the top eight players in the world.”

When the format went from 12 players back to 16 in January 1986, Lendl took his irritation out on his hapless countryman, Tomas Smid, one of his good friends, beating him 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.

“I was so ticked off by the format that I played extra hard,” he said.

Lendl faced an uphill battle in terms of fan support, particularly early in his career, especially in the U.S. as the Cold War was still raging and he was perceived by some as a no-nonsense character from an Eastern Block country who was challenging popular stars like Borg, Connors, McEnroe, and later Becker and Edberg. As tennis writer Joel Drucker once wrote, “Borg was the Beatles, McEnroe was the Stones, and Lendl was Led Zeppelin, the guy who crushed the magic of the ‘70s golden age with raw, ugly power.”

In his first five Masters finals in New York, he faced uber-popular Borg in ‘81 and then local guys from Queens (a borough of New York City) four years in a row—Gerulaitis in ’82, and McEnroe in ’83, ’84, and ’85. Asked by Henman what it was like to face hometown favorites in New York, Lendl coolly batted away the question like one of his trademark buggy-whip forehands down the line, betraying no hard feelings.

“It was always loud, no matter who you played,” he said. “But yeah, playing John (McEnroe) over there, it was interesting as well.”

Lendl’s success at the Masters in the early ‘80s—he won back-to-back titles in ’82 and ’83—came before he broke through to win any of the eight majors he’d eventually claim. He told Henman that a turning point in his career came while on a flight in 1984.

“I had been number two or three or four in the world for about four years,” he said. “But I wasn’t happy with where I was. I hired a new coach, Tony Roche, I got some opinions from other guys on the tour, and I got a track and field coach to help me. I also watched a movie, Rocky (IV) on Delta Airlines, and they had a Versa climber, which I already had at home. Ivan Drago (the Russian villain who fought Rocky) was training on it all the time, and I said to myself, ‘I’ll be damned if I lose another match in my life because the other guy is fitter than me.’ And that was the turnaround.”

And there’s the beauty of Ivan Lendl—he’s the same guy whose idea of a good passing shot was a 100 mph forehand to his opponent’s head— he doesn’t care what you think about him finding inspiration in a Cold war villain. Leaving Rocky aside, Lendl’s total commitment to fitness and nutrition that he embarked on in ’84 revolutionised the game. The Czech master ushered in a new era of tennis where only the fittest could rise to the top. Perhaps modern-day players can thank or blame him for the fact that they can no longer eat pizzas and drink beer with impunity while skipping the gym after practice, as some may have gotten away with B.L. (Before Lendl).

Always respected, often feared by opposing players but not always necessarily embraced by his rivals and fans, Lendl’s stock has risen since he retired. Many who rooted against him because he was dominating one of their favorites back in the day now realize how underappreciated he was. Tennis writer Steve Tignor calls it “the resurrection of Lendl” and says that he “became a Lendl fan 20 years late.” And the Lendl bandwagon hasn’t been confined to the tennis world; even Snoop Dog is apparently a fan. “He was sharp…an old schooler”, the rapper said of Lendl in 2004. “Ivan was the truth.”

Nowhere was that “truth” more apparent than at the Masters, particularly in New York. Lendl, who turned 60 in March, still remembers how he saved match point against Gerulaitis down two sets to love and came back to win in ’82. And how about beating Jimmy Connors four times at the tournament during his 17 consecutive wins against the American southpaw?

“That was enjoyable, I’m not going to lie,” said Lendl, who became a U.S. citizen in 1992.

Being the perfectionist that he is, some of Lendl’s losses in New York still give him nightmares. In 1988, he made it to the Masters final against Boris Becker just eight weeks after having a secret shoulder surgery. “He beat me 7-5 in the fifth set tie-breaker,” Lendl recalled. “We had a 37-shot rally that he won (on match point) with a let cord winner down the line.”

Henman asked him what loss in his career he might like to replay, but Lendl wouldn’t go there.

“It pisses me off till today that I lost some of the matches I lost. I could give so many examples. But no, you can’t. You do the best you can. It doesn’t make sense to beat yourself up over losses.”

Editor’s Note: The Nitto ATP Finals begins Sunday 15 November at The O2 in London.

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Humbert Cracks Top 30, Mover Of The Week

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020

No. 30 Ugo Humbert, +4 (Career High)
The Frenchman has risen four places to a career-high of No. 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after beating Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic en route to the Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finals (l. to Raonic). The 22-year-old Humbert started the season at No. 57 and lifted his first ATP Tour title at the ASB Classic in Auckland (d. Paire) on 18 January. Humbert added a second trophy to his collection at the European Open crown in Antwerp (d. De Minaur) on 25 October.

No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, +1
Medvedev entered the Rolex Paris Masters with wins in just three of his past eight matches, but the Russian found his best level in the French capital to earn an impressive list of victories. The 24-year-old overcame former Wimbledon finalists Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic and Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers Diego Schwartzman and Alexander Zverev en route to his third ATP Masters 1000 crown. Medvedev, who is the fourth Russian to triumph at the final Masters 1000 event of the year, jumps one place to No. 4 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Read Paris Final Report & Watch Highlights.

No. 52 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, +11 (Career High)
The 21-year-old earned four wins from qualifying in Paris to reach the third round of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time. Davidovich Fokina eliminated 2018 champion Karen Khachanov in the first round to claim his maiden Masters 1000 main draw victory. The Spaniard also defeated Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in straight sets, before falling to Schwartzman in the third round. Davidovich Fokina leaps 11 positions to a career-high of No. 52.

No. 72 Marcos Giron, +19 (Career High)
The American earned back-to-back three-set wins against Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Matteo Berrettini in Paris to match his best Masters 1000 result. Giron, who did not drop a set in qualifying, was making his first appearance since defeating David Goffin en route to the European Open quarter-finals in Antwerp last month. The 27-year-old improved to 9-9 at tour-level this year and soared 19 spots to a career-high of No. 72.

View Latest FedEx ATP Rankings

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 14 Milos Raonic, +3
No. 49 Richard Gasquet, +7
No. 51 Jordan Thompson, +10
No. 54 Tommy Paul, +1 (Career High)
No. 79 Kevin Anderson, +7
No. 88 Norbert Gombos, +17

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Next Gen ATP Finals: Where Future Stars Take Centre Stage

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020

The Next Gen ATP Finals made its debut in 2017, providing a spotlight for the best 21-and-under ATP Tour stars to showcase their skills on a global stage.

The tournament, which has been held in Milan for the past three years, would have been played this week if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. looks at five things to know about the innovative event.

Embracing Innovation
One of the defining characteristics of the tournament is its forward-thinking, innovative approach to the sport. The event is unlike any other on the ATP Tour, from its unique scoring system to its use of various technologies.

To heighten the drama for fans, a shorter best-of-five set format was designed for the tournament to increase the number of pivotal moments in a match. Each set is won by the first player to reach four games, with a tie-break at 3-3 and No-Ad scoring.

The 2017 edition of the event also introduced a 25-second shot clock, player headset coaching and a shorter warm-up. Several innovations have since been added to the tournament, including the use of video review and wearable technology.

A Successful Introduction
The 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan marked a new era in the history of the ATP Tour. For the first time, players aged 21-and-under had a dedicated ATP Tour event where they could test their skills against the best talents in their age group.

After a 10-month battle in the ATP Race To Milan, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Denis Shapovalov, Borna Coric, Jared Donaldson and Hyeon Chung and Daniil Medvedev booked their places in the field. They were joined at the Fiera Milano by Italian qualifier Gianluigi Quinzi.

Chung and Coric both made it through the round robin stage with 3-0 unbeaten records, where they were joined by Russian stars Rublev and Medvedev. In the championship match, Group A qualifiers Chung and Rublev met for the second time in the tournament. Chung, known as ‘The Professor’, finished top of the class with his second win against Rublev to end the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.

“I’m just really, really happy… I really don’t know how I won here in Milan,” said Chung. “[It was a] really tough match tonight against Rublev. He was better than the last time [we played]. So I was just trying to play my best.”

Tsitsipas Caps Breakthrough Season With Milan Crown
The second edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals gave fans an opportunity to get to know another group of emerging ATP Tour talents: the Class of 2018. Only one player who had competed in the inaugural edition of the tournament made it back to Italy: Rublev. The 2017 runner-up was joined by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Jaume Munar, Hubert Hurkacz and Italian qualifier Liam Caruana.

The tournament’s top two seeds, Tsitsipas and De Minaur, showed why they had received top billing at the Fiera Milano. Both men were tested in five-set semi-finals, but advanced to the championship match with perfect 4-0 records.

Tsitsipas, who had captured his first ATP Tour crown just three weeks before the tournament in Stockholm, rallied from a set down to clinch the title in four sets. It capped a memorable season for the Greek star, who started 2018 at No. 91 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and finished the year at No. 15.

“I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to play here in Milan and be the second winner of the tournament,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s a very special moment. I think I can get some confidence out of it and play better in the future.”

An Italian Champion
In 2019, De Minaur and Tiafoe were joined by newcomers Ugo Humbert, Casper Ruud, Miomir Kecmanovic, Mikael Ymer, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Italian wild card Jannik Sinner.

Entering the third edition of the event, Italian players had lost all six matches they had contested at the tournament. But a new venue — the Allianz Cloud — brought a change in fortunes for the home nation. Ranked No. 95, San Candido native Sinner topped Group B with a 2-1 record and battled past Kecmanovic to reach the championship match.

In the final, he met top seed and 2018 runner-up De Minaur. Backed by a passionate home crowd, the 18-year-old dropped just five games to claim the trophy with a straight-sets victory.

“The week has been unbelievable. The crowd… You can hear them now. I’m very happy… I wouldn’t be here without the wild card, so thanks to everyone.”

Milan Is Just The Start
One of the best barometers for the success of the Next Gen ATP Finals has been the results its past participants have gone on to achieve.

Inaugural champion Chung used his Next Gen ATP Finals title run as a springboard to success in his next season. Just two months after his triumph in Milan, the South Korean defeated Novak Djokovic en route to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open. Chung also reached back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals in Indian Wells and Miami to crack the Top 20 in the FedEx ATP Rankings at No. 19 on 2 April 2018.

Tsitsipas followed in the footsteps of Chung by reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final at the 2019 Australian Open. The Greek advanced to six tour-level championship matches last year (3-3), cracked the Top 5 and finished the season with a milestone victory. Just one year after his title run in Milan, Tsitsipas made a successful return to round robin action by winning the Nitto ATP Finals in London on his tournament debut.

Sinner, who captured an ATP Challenger Tour trophy the week after his Milan victory, also achieved a major Grand Slam milestone in his next ATP Tour season. At Roland Garros this year, the Italian became the first man since Rafael Nadal to reach the quarter-finals on his tournament debut. Sinner has claimed three Top 10 wins in 2020 and risen from No. 78 to a career-high No. 43.

Success has not been restricted to past champions of the event. Four of the eight players who competed at the event in 2017 — Rublev, Khachanov, Shapovalov and Medvedev — have since broken the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

Of the 21 players to have competed at the tournament, 13 have captured ATP Tour singles trophies. Past Next Gen ATP Finals participants own a combined 37 tour-level singles titles. Seven of those men own multiple ATP Tour crowns: Medvedev (8), Rublev (7), Tsitsipas (5), Khachanov (4), De Minaur (3), Coric (2) and Humbert (2).

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ATP Appoints Daniele Sano As ATP Chief Business Officer

  • Posted: Nov 09, 2020

The ATP has announced the appointment of Daniele Sano as ATP Chief Business Officer, beginning 1 December, 2020.

Sano will oversee all Commercial Partnerships, Global Sales, Marketing, PR and Business Development operations for the ATP. The 44-year-old has a wealth of experience across Media Sales, Sports Marketing and Business Development. Sano’s previous positions include senior management and advisory roles with top properties in different sports, including football club AS Roma, the Superbike World Championship and sports marketing agency WWP Group, overseeing areas such as sponsorship acquisition and activation, strategy development and implementation.

Sano said: “The ATP is one of the most exciting sports properties in the world, and one with very promising business upside. Having been involved in sport my entire career, and as a lifelong sports fan, I look forward to bringing my experience and industry knowledge into this new role.”

Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO, said: “On behalf of the ATP, I am delighted to welcome Daniele to the team. His considerable experience from brand, rights-holder and agency perspectives, including negotiating major strategic partnerships and sponsorship deals, will be a big asset. His impressive credentials and guidance of vital functions at ATP will be instrumental in maximising the ATP’s business potential in years ahead.”

Sano will be based out of ATP’s office in London and will report to Calvelli as Chief Executive Officer.

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